At a Snail’s Pace

The snails aren’t doing squat.  I bought them a week ago to eat the algae from the walls of the frog’s tank, and if they’re eating any, it sure doesn’t show.   I considered algae eaters (the fish variety, with the suction-cup mouth), but they required a heater.  These frogs, who spend their entire lives (20 years or more) in water, and room-temperature water suits them just fine, thank you.  Besides, I’m pretty sure these dudes would eat the fish, carnivores that they are.  Just seems like an expensive meal.

Anyway, I’m disappointed in the snails’ cleaning abilities.  I know, I could just clean the tank, but that’s a last resort.  I loathe tank cleaning, probably because by the time I do it, conditions are pretty poor in there.  Hmm.  There’s a message in that.

Their tank (like the shower, the boys’ bathtub, and much of the basement) really needs intervention.  And the snails aren’t doing it.  They’re also not repairing the closet door, adjusting the dryer door, replacing the kitchen faucet aerator, or a dozen other jobs need doing around here.  None of those jobs are that big, or at least they wouldn’t seem so if they were attended to promptly, but together, they overwhelm me (and, apparently, the snails).

I’m the only adult in an 70-something-year-old house that my boys and I actively live in 24/7.  The boys generally help when asked.  They vacuum, shovel, rake, sweep, and more, but I’m careful about how much my divorce places on their small shoulders.  Maintaining this house isn’t their job.   Some days I want to holler that it’s not all my job either as I yearn for a time when I shared this responsibility with another adult.  But it’s all mine now.  And, sometime, that reduces me to  tears and despair.  I bend down to pick up (yet another) cat toy only to notice the peeling paint on a baseboard.  I check on my younger, still in the tub, and step in the growing puddle indicating that the leaky toilet has yet to repair itself.  I could go on, but it discourages me.

Basically, the place is in good shape.  It’s fairly clean (don’t look at my shower), largely well-maintained, and apparently free of plague-causing pestilence.    Company tends to return for a second visit, and I take that as a good sign.   So I’ll take it easy on the snails.  It’s a big tank for five little creatures to clean, and the algae had quite the head start.  Perhaps I can extend myself the same consideration.

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3 thoughts on “At a Snail’s Pace

  1. Well said Sarah. I think you deserve at least as much consideration as the snails. I love that you are so in tune to the boys’ needs.

  2. Please do give yourself some slack Sarah! You have a huge responsibility and it’s simply not possible to do it all. I was on my own for a week while Paul was on business and by the end we had no bread, milk or water. Because during my 6:30am-9:30pm mom/work shift there was no time to go to the store.

    Even when we have 2 adults around here, there are so many things that don’t get done. Life is just too complicated to do it all. In the end as long as our kids are happy and healthy that’s all that matters. The rest is just icing on the cake.

  3. My house has always been a falling apart mess, with or without a man in my house. The ex could repair things, but usually only started projects and never finished them, and couldnt do plumbing. The current one . . .well, he earns money. and doesnt like us to spend it. He mentioned the possilibility of moving for a job and I pointed out that none of the furniture was worth moving – he thinks he’d rather keep the junk we have than buy used .. .but you can hardly find used furniture in this bad a shape!

    Anyways, when I was a single mom, I picked one chore that I did every exhausted night before bed, just to make myself feel like I was on top of things – it was wiping down the table. I couldnt do it when the ex was there, because he did the dishes, and therefore insisted that he could leave his plate on the table until he was ready to do the dishes . . . even if that was 2 am or the next day. It was like Fly Lady’s shiny sink – I saw the clean table, and it was a psychological boost

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